The ruins of Terebovlia Castle

One of the things I love about living in Western Ukraine is the history and amazing sights all around the area. There is something awe-inspiring about walking through the remains of castles, imagining the grandeur and power that at one time emanated from such powerful structures. I find myself peering out through arrowslits in the 3-meter thick wall, wondering about the archers who used this spot to defend the fortress.


The remains of the Castle on a hill overlooking the small town of Terebovlia are immense and quite well preserved. Only about 20kms from home in Ternopil, it was an easy day trip to visit and explore this historical place. It is often hard to find many details about the remains of these places, and about all I could find was the following short description:

First built in 1097, the Terebovlya Castle has been continuously modified, destroyed and rebuilt. In 1241, the original wooden castle was burned down by invading Mongolian forces led by Batu Khan. The castle was rebuilt in 1360 by Polish King Casimir III, as Terebovlya was at that time on the edge of the Polish Kingdom. In 1631, after changing hands multiple times between Polish, Ukrainian, and Turkish armies, the castle was again occupied and rebuilt by the Polish military.

In 1675, a small contingent of Polish troops supposedly held off a Turkish army of around 20,000 men for two weeks until they were relieved by reinforcements. During the siege, the commander of the Polish forces, Colonel Jan Samuel Chrzanowski, considered surrendering to the Turks, but his wife, Anna Dorota Chrzanowski, threatened to commit suicide if he did. According to the legend, her threat shamed and inspired the garrison to continue fighting. There is a monument to Anna Dorota at the top of the castle memorializing this event. However, in 1687, a Tartar force burned Terebovlya and destroyed the castle, leaving the still impressive ruins that remain today.


When we arrived at the castle, the sun was shining and attempting to melt any snow that peeked out of the shade while warming the winter air. As we climbed the path to the foot of the castle walls, the formidable size of this place really stood out. Huge rocks, expertly put together, into walls almost 3 meters thick in places, loomed high overhead. The fortress all though being almost 700 yrs old was still impenetrable – as we found out by the solidly padlocked gate restricting entrance into the building. As we continued around the base of the walls, we came across a small opening that looked like it used to be an arrow slit in the wall, part of the structure had collapsed leaving a tunnel just large enough to crawl through, becoming our doorway into Terebovlia castle.

We spent the next hour or so climbing and looking around, walking on the top of the walls and exploring this amazing place. From its dominating position on the hill above the town, the views were breathtaking. Looking down the slopes of the hill from the top of the castle walls, it was easy to see the strategic location of this place, just how hard it would have been for an invading army to successfully attack it. Now, however, what once hosted invading armies, now lay home to the town of Terebovlia and there is something almost magical about seeing the houses and people going about every day life with this fortress looming large in the background.

I hope you enjoy some of my images of this beautiful place and be inspired to explore the world around you. I, for one, can not wait to find and explore more of Ukraine’s hidden gems.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. twobytour says:

    It’s unbelievable how well some of these structures have survived. I know we felt the same way when we visited the Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico. The craftsmanship that allowed for the pueblo to still stand after 900 years of disuse makes you wonder about how we build things today. Great post and your pics are stunning.

    1. Thankyou so much! It’s true that we seem to be very shortsighted in how we create things. I would love to see those Aztec ruins!

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